Logo, Carothers and Carothers, Intellectual Property Law in Pittsburgh, PA
445 Fort Pitt Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday by Appointment Only

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do initially to protect my invention?
A: Prepare in writing a disclosure of your invention. The writing does not have to be elaborate. It can be merely handwritten and may include a drawing or sketch. Also, make sure to sign your disclosure as the inventor in the presence of a Notary, have a friend or two witnesses, and date the disclosure. This certifies dates of invention.
Once that is complete, call us and set up an initial free consultation. We will also witness and date your disclosure so that you have proof that your invention was disclosed to us in confidence as your attorney. This witnessing will add extra credibility to the invention dates and you will retain the original disclosure document in your possession in case it is ever needed to prove first dates of invention.
Q: What type of patent protection is available?
A: There are two types of patents are available. A provisional or non-provisional utility patent and a design patent. A utility patent protects a method or article of manufacture, compositions of matter, and methods of doing business (including software and Internet patents).
A design patent protects the outward ornamental appearance of an article. While design patents are less expensive to prepare and can be effective in some situations, they are of limited protection since they do not protect the concept or utilitarian function of the invention.
Q: What is a trademark?
A: A trademark is a word, name, symbol, number, color, or device used to identify ones' products or goods. It distinguishes them from others. A service mark is also generally classified as a trademark and is a word, name, symbol, number, color, or device used to identify ones' services, which are offered to distinguish them from others. Federal trademark applications on the Principal Register may be filed based on actual use or on intent to use.
Q: What is a copyright?
A: A copyright protects the "expression" of a literary or artistic work; however, it does not protect the concept expressed. It may be registered with the Library of Congress.